Holy Thursday 2023 Preaching by Sister Janice Brown, OP Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper - April 6, 2023 John 13:1-15 Jesus knows that he is facing death. He knows that he will be leaving those whom he loves and returning to his origins. These final hours are hard, and he can only imagine how horrible Friday will be. Despite knowing this, Jesus turns his energy towards the disciples and begins to wash their feet. Jesus models love once again, through this simple, yet profound act. He is still teaching them… and he is still teaching us. The washing of the feet is a metaphor for how we, too, are there for each other’s weariness. In Debie Thomas’s reflection on today’s scripture, she states: “When Jesus washes feet, he shows us that love doesn’t have to look glamorous to be revolutionary. In fact, it’s often the humblest acts of love which speak the loudest.” I wonder if Jesus needed to do this for himself as well. Let me tell you a story about a special woman named Emily. Emily was a good friend of my daughter Kathy. They met as counselors at Special Days Camp, which is a camp for kids with cancer that provides not only a summer camp experience but also includes a medical team. Both Emily and Kathy were survivors of childhood cancer. They had a strong bond, an understanding. Emily became close to both of us. Unfortunately, Emily’s cancer came back. Kathy and I would visit her in the hospital. We did simple things, talked about the treatment, the funny and the challenging things of the day, and we would pray together. Emily asked us to pray for her. The last time we visited Emily, I remember how she laughed and how her eyes sparkled… She died just a few days later. I was so glad that we were with her for a while. It was meaningful for Kathy and me, and I think very meaningful for Emily. Such a simple thing, yet so profound. This is why I wonder if Jesus was finding some consolation as he was able to be with his followers in a simple, yet profound way. He knew Judas was selling him for a few silver coins. Peter would deny him three times…on the worst day of his life. Did he wonder if this rag tag team of believers would be able to spread the Good News? Did they understand? All these questions are left hanging in the background, yet Jesus, fully human, let his love burst through those struggles, and he lovingly washed their feet. This is Eucharist, isn’t it? Tonight is about Eucharist. It is about celebrating and sharing God’s love with one another in simple yet profound ways. It is about letting that love breakthrough, giving of ourselves, even when it is difficult. Giving away that love in whatever way is possible. Tonight, as we sit and contemplate, feel the fullness of God’s love surround us. Take it in, then let it out. Take a deep breath, and then breathe that love out. Let us continue to pray as we, too, wash feet: God, we are in a hurting world that needs so much healing. May we love anyways. We are but human beings with limitations, may we share your love, which has no limits. God of all that is and all that will be, may we be courageous enough to embrace our vulnerability, and transform our fears into love. Amen.